Let’s get one thing out of the way. Quarriors! is nowhere near as funny as it thinks it is.
WizKids’ new game is seemingly obsessed with the letter Q, trying to shoehorn it into Quarriors!’ rules whenever it gets a chance. It’s childish, it isn’t funny and it begins to grate around about page 5 of the manual.
Fortunately, while WizKids doesn’t know how to do good humour, it certainly knows how to make great games and Quarriors! is no exception.
At its heart, Quarriors! is a card-building game, a genre which has grown ridiculously since the likes of Dominion and Thunderstone. The key difference here though is that rather than rely on cards, Quarriors! uses dice; in fact it uses 130 of the buggers.
Starting off with 12 dice comprising of 8 basic quiddity (think of it as mana) and 4 assistant dice a turn is comprised of 6 phases: Score Creatures, Draw and Roll Dice, Ready Spells and Summon Creatures, Attack Your Rivals, Capture One Quarry and Move Dice to your used pile.
Each turn you roll 6 dice and examine the results. A spell face means the die goes into your ready area, while faces with monsters on are summoned by paying the required quiddity. Once a monster or monsters have been summoned you can choose to attack your opponents. This is done by calculating their combined attack strength and attacking the opponent to your left. He then chooses one of his own creatures to defend. If your attack strength is greater than his defense you destroy his creatures and he must put up a new one to face the rest of your assault (your attack strength is lessened by your opponent’s defeated defense so if you started with 5 and your opponent’s defence was 4, he now only has to defend against a final point of damage). Once an opponent is bested you then attack your next opponent until you either beat his creatures or are forced to make a retreat. At the beginning of your next turn you will then score points for any monsters that are left in your ready Area.
Each turn you’re also given the option to capture a Quarry die from the wilds (providing you have the quiddity points to do so) spells and creatures can be captured and vary in strength and power, while there is also the option to buy portal die (handy as they usually give you additional die to throw) a basic quiddity (for a cost of 0) or an assistant. In short, you can always earn a new die each turn, regardless of your die throw.
Play continues until someone reaches the required number of points of four creatures cards are depleted. That’s right, i said cards. While Quarriors! is a dice-based game, it used a number of cards which effectively represent its dice board. There are 3 basic cards used each game – Basic Quiddity, Portal and Assistant – and then you randomly choose 3 spell cards and 7 monsters. One nice touch is that there are different strength monsters and spells (you can only have one type of each in play) ensuring that there is plenty of variety whenever you play a new game.
It’s this variety which is one of Quarriors! greatest strengths. Initially it feels quite restrictive, but as you start buying portal die (which give you the opportunity to draw and roll more dice) and creatures, you realise that there are plenty of different combos and options available to you. It’s also a blisteringly fast-paced game, with the average session taking no more than an hour to play.
There’s a huge potential for expansion in Quarriors!, but the base set gives you more than enough to keep you going. It’s also a marvelous looking game, with bright, easy to follow instructions, fantastic die, great artwork and a gorgeous tin box to keep everything in. In fact the only real downside to Quarriors! is that the four die bags that come with it are both small and of a low quality. It’s a minor niggle though, and the presentation throughout is generally excellent.
Quarriors! may be nothing more than a deck-building game in new clothing, but it’s one that is both highly entertaining and fun to play. Currently in high demand due to a low print run I suggest you seek out a copy as quickly as possible. You will not be disappointed.